A study of Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Charnwood Professor Darren Smith and Dr Andreas Culora Loughborough University December 2018

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A study of Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Charnwood Professor Darren Smith and Dr Andreas Culora Loughborough University December 2018
A study of
Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
in Charnwood

Professor Darren Smith and
Dr Andreas Culora

Loughborough University

December 2018


Executive summary                                                       3

1. Introduction                                                         5

2. Remit of study                                                       9

3. The identification of HMOs in Charnwood                              10

   3.1 What we knew about HMOs in Charnwood before the start of the     10

   3.2 Improving the identification of HMOs in Charnwood and creating   12
   the HiMOG database

   3.3 Stress-testing HiMOG

   3.4 Key findings – the magnitude and distribution of HMOs in         18
4. Exploring the processes underpinning the patterns of HMO             29
   geographies in Charnwood

   4.1 Key findings from the interviews                                 30

References                                                              35

Appendix                                                                36

Executive summary

  Using a novel and innovative approach for identifying Housing in Multiple Occupation
  (HMOs) through the construction of the Houses in Multiple Occupation Geography
  Database (HiMOG database) the study provides an unprecedented, original,
  pioneering, in-depth study of HMO; the first of its kind to be undertaken in a UK town
  or city.
  The study is therefore of national importance providing an example of good practice
  for the identification of HMO, and the creation of a rigorous and robust methodology
  for a more complete and ongoing identification of HMOs via an integration and
  manipulation of different administrative datasets. Information Sharing Agreements via
  the Loughborough Campus and Community Liaison Group are now in place for the
  sharing of constituent datasets and the annual update of the HiMOG database to
  identify changes in the local HMO market.
  This study has led to the delivery of a more robust evidence-base and the vast
  improvement on the quality of information and data on HMOs for the Local Planning
  Authority, to better inform their practices (i.e. planning decisions, appeals and
  It also provides a fuller evidence-base of the geographic distribution of different types
  of HMO to inform HMO policies within the Borough; although the remit for the study is
  not to undertake a review of existing or future policies for HMO within Charnwood.
  A key achievement of the study is the identification of a total of 2,509 HMOs in
  Charnwood to provide a fuller and more accurate understanding of the scale and
  magnitude of HMOs within Charnwood. The study has identified the distribution of an
  additional 1,653 HMOs within Charnwood (previously unrecorded), compared to
  previous knowledge of HMOs in the Borough before the start of the study.
  The study shows that the HMO market is growing and reveals that there are two
  distinct dimensions to the local HMO market. The student HMO market is
  increasingly ‘wrapped’ around the North, East and South edges of the campus of
  Loughborough University, and to a lesser extent, Loughborough College. The non-
  student HMO market is most marked in the wards of East Loughborough, and, to a
  lesser extent, in some outlying towns and villages. The study therefore provides a
  better understanding of the marked differences and dynamics of the local HMO
  market(s) within the Borough of Charnwood.

 The study thus provides a more complete recording of HMO within the local Land and
 Property Gazetteer (BLPU) which is used to inform planning decisions and report to
 central government. Locally, this will have a major bearing on threshold calculations
 for the total number of HMOs within a specific area, which is a key consideration
 when determining a planning application or appeals.
 The study shows that students from Loughborough College have minimal impact on
 the local HMO market within Loughborough, with the majority of college students
 living in family homes.
 It has proven beneficial to conduct interviews with letting agents to more fully
 understand the dynamics and differences within the local HMO market. Some key
 findings are particularly salient to future discussions about Local Authority policies.
 Most notably, and anecdotally, the overall HMO market within Charnwood is growing,
 diversifying and spreading into other parts of the Borough; the student HMO market is
 changing; the non-student HMO market in Loughborough and Charnwood is growing
 and diverse; there is the presence of vulnerable low income and migrant groups
 within the non-student HMO market, as well as diverse groups of professionals; the
 HMO market is agile and dynamic, and the HMO market is embracing technological
 developments in its change.
 This study has provided the starting point to more accurately understand the
 percentage of HMOs that are empty or partially void. The HiMOG database provides
 an opportunity and baseline to annually update of the identification of HMOs and to
 identify the total number of bed spaces within each dwelling (i.e. total occupancy
 counts for each dwelling). This baseline can be compared (or adjusted) to the annual
 total number of occupants within a respective HMO.
 We have been able to identify the occupancy levels for purpose-built student
 accommodation given the total number of bed spaces in these blocks is known.
 Occupancy levels for purpose-built student accommodation are currently high.
 The study has provided a platform for different stakeholders to articulate their views
 and opinions about the local HMO market in Charnwood. It is an example of fruitful
 collaborative and joined-up working between Charnwood Borough Council,
 Loughborough University and Loughborough College.

1. Introduction

1.1 Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is widely recognised as a vital part of the
housing market, often providing affordable rental accommodation for many social groups
in towns and cities across the UK (Smith et al., 2014). It is an increasing dimension of
the UK housing market that has rapidly grown over the last two decades, and continues
to rise as ‘dwellings’ (identified in the Town and Country Planning (Use Class) Order as
use class C3: dwellinghouse) are converted to supply housing for ‘three or more
unrelated people living together that share basic amenities such as a kitchen and
bathroom’ (use class C4: HMO with 3-6 unrelated individuals sharing amenities or Sui
Generis larger HMO with more than 6 unrelated individuals sharing). Nationally, the
supply of HMOs is matched to an increasing demand for HMOs from diverse social
groups, such as ‘generation rent’, as private rental accommodation is increasingly
sought in light of the lack of affordability within owner-occupied housing markets and
lack of availability of social rented housing.

1.2 In this context, this study of HMOs in Charnwood is timely given the possible
changing dynamics of the local HMO market, coupled to an annually, high stable
demand from the student population for temporary rental accommodation within
Loughborough. Although new-build, purpose-built accommodation for students has
been developed over the last decade, both on- and off-campus, there continues to be a
high demand for off-campus student HMOs in Loughborough.

1.3 Like other towns and cities within the UK, it is recognised by policy makers and
politicians that over-concentrations of HMO in Loughborough can have negative (as well
as positive) impacts on existing local neighbourhoods and communities. Since the mid-
2000s, studies of HMO within Loughborough have previously been undertaken through
the lens of studentification; tending to treat HMOs as a student-specific dimension of the
local housing market. These investigations have shown that Loughborough is
“emblematic of ‘university towns’ in the UK”, with a high demand from students for
private rented properties and the proliferation of HMOs. For example, Hubbard (2008:
325) notes: “This high proportion of students relative to long-term residents suggests
that the social impacts of studentification both positive and negative might be more

acutely felt in Loughborough than in a larger city where the proportion is typically much

1.4 To more fully regulate the production of HMOs and more effectively manage the
transformative effects of over-concentrations of HMO upon the local character of
neighbourhoods within Loughborough, Charnwood Borough Council were proactive in
adopting a Student Housing Supplementary Planning Document (Student Housing SPD)
in 2005. The Student Housing SPD adopted a threshold approach, which involves “an
assessment of the proportion of [student] households within the “neighbourhood”
surrounding an application as informed by information gathered from the Council Tax
records” (CBC, 2005: 12). The threshold figure outlined was 20% which meant that
where student households comprise more than 20% of the “neighbourhood” an
application for a further student HMO was more likely to be refused due to the existing
concentration of this type of property.

1.5 In the context of this study, three issues are noteworthy here. First, Super Output
Areas are used as the basis for defining a neighbourhood, providing scope for
inconsistencies in the geographical units used to implement the threshold approach.
Second, this approach requires robust and consistently updated datasets to provide a
sound evidence base for the identification of HMOs. Third, the notion of a C4 HMO did
not exist in planning laws in 2005. Therefore, any HMO containing between three and six
unrelated individual renters was classified as a C3 dwellinghouse at the time, rendering
this approach ineffective for small HMO given that the conversion of properties within
Use Classes does not require planning permission. At this time only large HMOs of 6 or
more unrelated individuals required planning permission. However, the creation of the
C4 HMO Use Class in 2010 meant that the Threshold approach could be adopted
efficiently once the Article 4 Direction (A4D) was implemented, with a rich policy
framework already behind it.

1.6 The A4D was invoked in Loughborough effective from February 2012 (CBC, 2010,
2011). A twelve-month grace period was granted for landlords to apply for HMO planning
permission prior to its official introduction, to avoid the need for the Local Authority to
pay compensation for any loss or damages incurred by the introduction of the regulatory
tool (CBC, 2010). The A4D was applied across the town. The rationale behind this was

to prevent the mass production of HMOs within the unregulated areas of Loughborough,
given that “no neighbourhood may be considered to be so far removed [from LU] that it
could be rejected [by landlords] as being too remote” (CBC, 2010, p. 51).

1.7 The initial implementation of the A4D took the Small Output Area (SOA) as defined
by the Office of Population Census and Survey as the base geographical unit for
implementing the threshold approach, as set out in the Student Housing SPD (CBC,
2005). The calculation would take the SOA containing the property in question (which
was termed the Home Output Area – HOA), combine it with all the other SOAs with
which the HOA shares a boundary, and take a calculation of the proportion of student
households from total households within that geographical area (CBC, 2005).

1.8 The issue of geographical consistency as discussed above remained with this
methodology. Indeed, this approach could lead to an application for HMO being
considered within an area ranging from 5 to 7 SOAs, comprising anywhere between 625
and 875 households (CBC, 2005). The calculation was based solely on records of
Council Tax Exemptions, which would envelope student HMO given their exemption
from Council Tax but exclude non-student HMOs. This highlights that the initial rationale
for the planning regulation of HMO was based on the belief that “in Loughborough the
drive for HMO conversions is fuelled by the student market” (CBC, 2010, p. 47). In
recent years there has been a growing recognition by the Local Authority that demand
for HMOs in the town is also driven by non-students: “In Loughborough a large number
of HMOs are occupied by students in further and higher education… It is important,
however, to keep in mind that not all HMOs are occupied by students or reserved for
students” (CBC, 2017a, p. 19).

1.9 In May 2017, latest new Housing Supplementary Planning Document (Housing SPD)
outlined a new methodology for implementing the threshold approach that would
address the issues with using SOAs as the base geographical unit. This method would
be replaced by a system that would create a 100-metre radius around the property being
considered for HMO planning permission and use this as the geographical area to take a
threshold calculation of the number of HMOs as a proportion of the total number of
residential properties within the radius (CBC, 2017a). Any application for a new HMO
where the figure exceeds 20% will be considered in light of this existing high

concentration of HMOs and is more likely to be refused, although this decision will also
be informed by other factors. The transition from student households to HMO as the
basis of the calculation is perhaps recognition of a more diverse HMO market in the

1.10 CBC also hold a regularly-updated register of licensed HMOs which is made
publicly available on their website. This includes properties with 5 or more unrelated
people living together in a dwelling with 3 or more storeys. The latest version of this
dataset includes 362 licensed HMOs in Charnwood, most of which are located in
Loughborough. However, given that not all HMOs will meet the criteria for mandatory
licensing, it is plausible to argue that the total number of HMOs in the town is far higher
than this figure; the main focus of this study.

1.11 This is important given recent studies have revealed that student HMOs have
extended from Burleigh and Storer into other parts of the town, such as the Kingfisher
Estate in Southfields, and Herrick and Forest areas of the town (Kinton et al., 2016).
This ‘second wave’ of studentification has produced HMO in areas of Loughborough that
have traditionally been occupied by families and professionals, in more expensive,
higher-quality properties. This represents an extension of studentification from the
studentified areas of Storer and Burleigh (the so-called Golden Triangle); areas that are
now experiencing processes of destudentification (Kinton, 2013). At the same time,
there is a growing acknowledgement in the UK that the production of HMO is
increasingly linked to broader processes including internal/international migration, socio-
economic deprivation and processes of family formation and breakdown. It is contended
that more mixed HMO markets are forming that include both students and other social
groups. The latter includes professionals, international migrant workers, low-skilled
workers, benefit recipients and divorcees. Recent academic studies (e.g. Kinton et al,
2016) argue that the geographies of HMO are changing due to more exclusionary
housing markets, population change and cultural shifts in perceptions of shared living
arrangements within the context of a ‘broken housing market’.

2. Remit of study

The main aims of this study are set out below:

1. The creation of a comprehensive database identifying HMO in the Borough which
   can be updated as new information becomes available.

2. Sufficient information to assess the value and impact of the student housing policies
   set out in the Supplementary Planning Document (2005), and to inform a review of
   the current planning policy framework.

3. An understanding of where student HMOs are located within the Borough and the
   scale of Loughborough College students living in HMOs in Loughborough, as well as
   Loughborough University students.

4. Interviews with key stakeholders including letting agents to better understand the
   HMO market in the Borough.

5. An understanding of the occupancy levels of HMO and purpose built student

3. The identification of HMOs in Charnwood

3.1 What we knew about HMOs in Charnwood before the start of the study

3.1.1 Prior to the beginning of the study in July 2015, pre-existing knowledge of the total
number of HMOs in Charnwood was tied to the manual identification and recording of
HMOs on the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG). For this purpose, council tax
and planning datasets (and information provided by local resident groups and checked
by council officers) was used. The recording of HMOs within the LLPG was then
manually updated on a periodic basis by the GIS Technician at Charnwood Borough
Council (CBC).

3.1.2 The LLPG is the official national dataset that records the status of each individual
dwelling or building (which is assigned a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN)
and Eastings and Northings [for mapping]) using designated categories, known as the
Basic Land and Property Unit (BLPU)1. The category for HMO is termed: ‘HMO - not
further divided’. There are two other HMO-termed BLPU categories: ‘HMO Bedsit’ and
‘HMO Parent’. These categories are misleading as they refer to individual units within
on- and off-campus purpose-built student accommodation blocks, and the shell of blocks
of purpose-built student accommodation, respectively.

3.1.3 During the early phases of the project, there was approximately 750 HMOs
identified within Charnwood, using the ‘HMO - not further divided’ category. Today this
figure is 857 HMOs. The total count of HMOs in Charnwood using the LLPG includes
HMOs that are recorded on the public register and required mandatory licensing (i.e. 5
or more unrelated people living together in a dwelling with 3 or more storeys). The vast
majority of the HMOs on the public register for mandatory licensing tend to be in the
studentified areas of Loughborough, which currently totals 362 HMOs.

  The National Address Gazetteer infrastructure is the data storage and set of processes bringing
together the existing local authority sourced addressing datasets.

3.2 Improving the identification of HMOs in Charnwood and
creating the HiMOG database

3.2.1 The main aim of the project was to provide a more complete and efficient recording
of HMOs in Charnwood in a comprehensive database. This was based on the premise
that the LLPG did not include a full record of HMOs in Charnwood. Importantly, previous
analyses of annual university term-time address datasets between 2010-2014 by
Professor Smith identified higher numbers of HMOs than were recorded on the LLPG. It
was also felt that the system for the manual identification and entry of HMOs onto the
LLPG was cumbersome, and an inefficient way to partially record HMOs.

3.2.2 A key objective was thus to create a database of identifiable HMOs (coined
HiMOG [Housing in Multiple Occupation Geographies]) that could be used to inform the
recording of HMOs on the official LLPG. This means that the HiMOG database needed
to be created in alignment with the structure and format of the LLPG, to ensure that data
from the HiMOG database could be easily imported into the LLPG system. As a starting
point for the project, the LLPG was provided as an Excel spreadsheet. For each row –
representing an area of land or a building, the following information was provided:
UPRN, residential information split into three columns (SAON: for sub-divisions within
the same building e.g. flat numbers or blocks in halls of residence; PAON: street number
or property name; Street name), town, postcode, Basic Land and Property Unit (BLPU)
classification, Eastings and Northings.

3.2.3 The first task for the creation of the HiMOG database was the identification of the
most relevant constituent datasets that were both accessible and which could be
manipulated to identify individual dwellings with three or more unrelated people living
together. It was important that the datasets could be manipulated to enable the
individual UPRN (i.e. address details) from the LLPG to be matched to each individual
dwelling in each dataset (i.e. address details).

3.2.4 Following scoping interviews with a range of stakeholders in Charnwood to
evaluate the availability and accessibility of relevant constituent datasets and the
recording of variables (i.e. number of residents, surnames of residents, postcodes), a
process was created to enable the integration and manipulation of datasets to most
effectively identify HMOs in Charnwood. These are outlined in Table 1. Unfortunately, it

was not possible to gain access to housing benefit datasets due to issues of data
confidentiality. The delivery of the term-time address datasets from Loughborough
College was delayed due to numerous changes in staffing, and this delayed the process
of finalising the identification of HMOs.

Table 1: Constituent datasets used for the HiMOG database

                         Unit (1 row        Data size
Dataset                                                 Source
                         =...)              (rows)

Local Land and
Property Gazetteer       1 property         91,662      Charnwood Borough Council
(LLPG) for

Public HMO Register
                         1 property         346         Charnwood Borough Council
for Charnwood

University student       1 person           16,889      Loughborough University
term-time addresses

College student term-    1 person           1,466       Loughborough College
time addresses

                         1 person           132,236     Charnwood Borough Council
Electoral Register for

List of Council Tax
                         1 property         1,995       Charnwood Borough Council
Exempt properties

3.2.5 The initial phase for the cleaning and manipulation of the constituent datasets took
place between July 2015 and December 2016, as the constituent datasets were
provided by partners (see Appendix 1). This was a significant task particularly for the

university term-time address records as some information had been incorrectly entered
into the data fields (e.g. 5/S; O/0; 2/Z; 3/8), and individual postcodes had been partially
entered (these had to be manually inputted based on other address details and look-up

3.2.6 Following the cleaning of the constituent datasets, extensive quality checks were
undertaken to ensure that the subsequent analysis would be as accurate and robust as
possible. The datasets were then formatted for consistency, to ensure that could be
matched and linked to form a single database (i.e. HiMOG). The HiMOG database was
constructed by linking the constituent datasets via this system of UPRNs. However, the
only datasets that were received with UPRNs attached was CBC’s LLPG and the list of
Council Tax Exempt properties. Consequently, UPRNs had to be appended to all the
other datasets.

3.2.7 With differential levels of confidence for identifying HMOs (i.e. 3 or more unrelated
people living together), it was decided to use the following ordering for the creation of the
HiMOG database:

     i)        Public Register of licensed HMO;
     ii)       Loughborough University and Loughborough College term-time address
               datasets to identify dwellings with three or more students living together;
     iii)      Electoral Register dataset to identify dwellings including three or more people
               with different surnames2;
     iv)       Properties identified on the Land and Property Gazetteer as a HMO – not
               further divided and with one or more students in residence.

3.2.8 Given it is important to not include the double counting of dwellings in the creation
of HiMOG, a process was instigated whereby individual dwellings were immediately
flagged as HMOs on identification, and excluded from subsequent analyses of the
datasets. The ordering of the system is shown below.

2 The use of the Electoral Register dataset has the potential to overestimate the number of HMOs. There are
circumstances where the identification of three distinct surnames can incorrectly identify a potential HMO. For example, a
live-in landlord is allowed to accommodate up to two lodgers without having to change the Use Class of the property to
HMO. In such a case, there would likely be three occupants within the same property with distinct surnames, which would
therefore wrongly indicate this property as HMO. More broadly, increasingly complex processes of family formation (e.g.
blended/reconstituted families) may result in the incorrect identification of HMO. Nevertheless, following discussions with
the Project Working Group, it was deemed that these arrangements would be minimal in the dataset of 3 or more people
with different surnames, and would be flagged as HMO in HiMOG.

For example, all dwellings recorded on the Public Register (362) were not included in the
manipulation of the university and college term-time address datasets. Likewise,
dwellings identified as HMO from the manipulation of the university and college term-
time address datasets (765) were not included on the manipulation of the electoral

3.2.9 Following the manipulation of the electoral register dataset, it was possible to
identify dwellings with one or more students, and to cross-check these dwellings with the
LLPG to identify any dwellings which had been recorded as HMO on the BLPU (it is
likely that some students may not have entered their address details on registration
forms at the university and college and may be missing in the term-time address
datasets). Notably, we identified 106 dwellings recorded as HMO on the LLPG with at
least one student living there.

3.2.10 For all dwellings identified as HMO on HiMOG we were able to match council tax
records to identify properties that are exempt from paying council tax and properties
currently paying council tax. This allows the identification of wholly-student households
(i.e. are exempt from paying council tax) and mixed-households (i.e. have to pay some
council tax).

Figure 1: Model for the construction of the database

3.3 Stress-testing HiMOG
3.3.1 To stress-test the accuracy of HiMOG, the dataset was cross-checked with an up-
to-date, fully anonymised, private rented housing dataset compiled by the Nanpantan
Ward Residents Group (NWRG) since 2012. Neither of the datasets include
any personal or individual-level data and both are fully anonymised. Records within
the two datasets were compared at a row-by-row level of all individual dwellings in the
Nanpantan ward (1,700 residential dwellings). The stress-test exercise found the
following validation of data:

- 135 dwellings are identified on both datasets as HMOs.

- 47 (additional) dwellings are identified as HMOs on HiMOG - but not recorded on
the Nanpantan Ward Residents Group dataset.

- 80 dwellings (on Nanpantan Ward Residents Group dataset) are not recorded as
HMOs on HiMOG and are identified as other private rented dwellings using the Electoral
Register dataset (i.e. family household).

- 46 dwellings were identified on HiMOG (not identified on the Nanpantan Ward
Residents Group dataset) that contained one or more college students living with family
(identified using the Electoral Register dataset).

3.3.2 The cross-checking exercise revealed that HiMOG has identified all of the HMOs
identified by Nanpantan Ward Residents Group, as well as nuancing the distinction
between HMO and other private rented housing in the ward.

3.4 Key findings – the magnitude and distribution of HMOs in

3.4.1 Table 2 shows a breakdown of the total number of identified HMOs in Charnwood
using the HiMOG database. It can be seen that there are 2,509 HMOs within
Charnwood. This means that the study has identified an additional 1,652 HMOs in
Charnwood (see Table 2), when compared to previous method for identifying HMOs (not
further divided) using the LLPG (which currently records 857 HMOs). In Loughborough
56% of all HMOs (licensed and non-licensed) are wholly-student HMOs and 44% are
non-student HMOs.

Table 2: Total number of HMOs identified in the HiMOG database

Evidence from HiMOG                                                        Total HMOs

Public register – mandatory licenced HMOs                                           362

3 or more students living together in a dwelling (student term time                 765
addresses - not including purpose-built/halls of residence)

3 or more residents with different surnames in a dwelling (Electoral              1,276

HMO-identified on Gazetteer with 1 or more students identified on                   106

Total identified HMOs in Charnwood                                                2,509

3.4.2 The improved identification of HMOs in Charnwood demonstrates the high value
and benefits of undertaking this work to construct the HiMOG database to inform the
identification of HMOs on the LLPG. This study has provided a rigorous and robust
methodology that has enhanced the quality of information and data to inform the
practices of the Local Planning Authority, and identify HMOs across the Borough.
Mapping of this data shows that there are distinct geographies to the different strands of
the local HMO market, both within the town of Loughborough and within the Borough.

3.4.3 To contextualize the prevalence of HMOs within the wider ‘housing market’, Table
3 shows the total number of HMOs by ward as a percentage of the total number of
‘house’ UPRNs (including properties identified on the LPPG as terraced, semi-detached,
detached and HMO – not further divided) for wards in Loughborough and the rest of
Charnwood. It can be seen that HMOs comprise 3.9% of the total number of ‘house’
UPRNs in Charnwood. The percentage is higher in the Loughborough wards (8.9%),
when compared to the rest of the Borough (1.9%). At ward level, percentages of HMO
are highest in Southfields (30.6%), Storer (25.3%) and Ashby (15.3%).

Table 3: The total number of HMOs by ward in Charnwood (as a % of total house
 Ward                                HMOs         Residential           % HMO from
                                                    UPRNs                 UPRNs

 Loughborough Garendon                 56            2,312                 2.4
 Loughborough Hastings                 117           1,743                 6.7
 Loughborough Lemyngton                171           2,113                 8.1
 Loughborough Nanpantan                92            1,574                 5.8
 Loughborough Outwoods                 52            2,324                 2.2
 Loughborough Shelthorpe               73            3,225                 2.3
 Loughborough Southfields              573           1,873                 30.6
 Loughborough Storer                   487           1,923                 25.3
 Loughborough Ashby                    184           1,205                 15.3
 Loughborough Dishley &                48            2,566                 1.9
 Total                                1,853          20,858                8.9

Ward                                       HMOs       Residential         % HMO
                                                         UPRNs           from UPRNs
 Anstey                                       45           2,757               1.6
 Barrow and Sileby West                       40           2,845               1.4
 Birstall Wanlip                              37           2,807               1.3
 Birstall Watermead                           26           2,617               1.0
 East Goscote                                 23           1,121               2.1
 Forest Bradgate                              21           1,361               1.5
 Mountsorrel                                  45           2,770               1.6
 Queniborough                                 14           1,642               0.9
 Quorn and Mountsorrel Castle                 49           2,891               1.7
 Rothley and Thurcaston
 Shepshed East                                38           2,609               1.5
 Shepshed West                                39           3000                1.3
 Sileby                                       54           3,303               1.6
 Syston East                                  37           2,822               1.3
 Syston West                                  52           2,458               2.1
 The Wolds                                    18           1,261               1.4
 Thurmaston                                   61           3,652               1.7
 Wreake Villages                              24           1,240               1.9
 Total                                        656         44,100               1.5

3.4.4 The study has found that non-licensed student-wholly HMOs (total 765), not
surprisingly, cluster around the University and College campuses in the wards of Storer,
Southfields and Ashby, and in a concentrated area of Nanpantan ward. There are no
student-wholly HMOs outside of the wards of Loughborough, and a low incidence in the
other wards of Loughborough. In total, there are 1,030 licensed and non-licensed
student-wholly HMOs in Loughborough.

Table 4 reveals the total number of student HMOs (i.e. 3 or more students living
together) as a percentage of total ‘house’ UPRNs in respective wards. This supports
long-standing knowledge in the town that students have a predilection to live near to

their place of study for convenience and to minimize commuting times and costs. The
prevalence of students in the Golden Triangle and the Kingfisher Estate are also
exemplified by these findings, and Storer (12.2%) and Southfields (15.4%) have the
highest concentrations in the town, with other notable concentrations in Nanpantan and
Ashby. The number of student HMO in other parts of the town declines rapidly;
Garendon, Lemyngton and Outwoods are the only other wards that contain over ten
student HMOs.

Table 4: The total number of student HMOs by ward in Loughborough (as a % of
total house UPRNs)
 Ward                                 Student        Total house             % HMO
                                       HMOs            UPRNs

 Loughborough Garendon                   15              2,312                   0.6
 Loughborough Hastings                    4              1,743                   0.2
 Loughborough Lemyngton                  27              2,113                   1.3
 Loughborough Nanpantan                  54              1,574                   3.4
 Loughborough Outwoods                   17              2,324                   0.7
 Loughborough Shelthorpe                  7                                      0.2
 Loughborough Southfields                289             1,873                   15.4
 Loughborough Storer                     235             1,923                   12.2
 Loughborough Ashby                      116             1,205                   9.6
 Loughborough Dishley &                   1              2,566
 Total                                   765            20,858                   3.7

3.4.5 The non-student segment of Loughborough’s HMO market exhibits more diffuse
geographical patterns, including both licensed and non-licensed HMOs. The studentified
wards including Ashby, Nanpantan, Southfields and Storer also contain concentrations
of non-student HMO. This, it is argued, provides evidence of the de-studentification of
these parts of Loughborough. Whilst previous studies have limited the process to the
Golden Triangle (cf. Kinton, 2013; Kinton et al., 2016), the existence of high
concentrations of non- student HMO in Ashby and Nanpantan infers that the process is
extending more widely in the town. The presence of concentrations of non-student

HMOs in studentified neighbourhoods in Loughborough shows that the town’s HMO
market is more diverse than previous research suggests.

3.4.6 High concentrations of non-student HMO are found in Loughborough East with
Hastings, Lemyngton and Shelthorpe containing some of the highest concentrations of
non-student HMO in the town. The concentration of HMOs in this part of the town
represents a parallel to the student market: a non-student ‘Golden Triangle’.

3.4.7 Interestingly, non-student HMOs are found in considerable concentrations across
the town, opposing the geographical unevenness of student HMO: the lowest
concentration of student HMO is found in Dishley and Hathern (1 property), whereas the
lowest concentration of non-student HMO is found in Nanpantan (24 properties). This
suggests that non-student tenants are more geographically flexible than students. Not
having a reliance on living close to their place of study and cultural amenities may
explain this geographical pattern. Overall, the evidence provided so far suggests that a
geographically diverse non-student HMO market exists in Loughborough.

3.4.8 Loughborough East thus contains the highest concentration of non-student HMO in
the town, with relatively high numbers of non-student HMOs that pay Council Tax
located within these three wards. The Hastings and Lemyngton wards in particular have
a high concentration of non-student HMOs.

3.4.9 A number of processes may be at work to explain this trend. The availability of
cheaper terraced housing for lower rental costs in Hastings and Lemyngton may provide
an attractive option for non-student groups. Given that Loughborough East is an
ethnically diverse, socio-economically deprived part of the town (Leicestershire County
Council, 2007a, 2007b), it can be hypothesised that low- income groups including
international migrants, low-skilled workers and Benefit recipients mostly reside in HMO
in this part of Loughborough. The location of Loughborough train station provides those
living in the town but working elsewhere in the East Midlands convenient transport links.
In Shelthorpe, an area with a history of social housing, the concentration of non-student
HMO may reflect a tenurial transition from social housing to HMO, as in Ashby ward.

3.4.10 High concentrations of non-student HMO are also found in other parts of the
town. Dishley and Hathern, Garendon, Nanpantan and Outwoods contain high numbers
of non-student HMOs that pay Council Tax. These parts of the town are generally more

affluent, dominated by middle-class, family-oriented households living in owner-occupied
housing. Housing in these neighbourhoods are also generally larger, semi-detached
dwellings. The proliferation of non-student HMOs into these areas challenges
conceptualisations that limit HMO to localities dominated by cheaper terraced housing.

3.4.11 Non-student HMOs have emerged in middle-class, family-oriented
neighbourhoods of the town. It is argued that the proliferation of non-student HMO into
these parts of Loughborough represent a movement of this housing type into
mainstream society spatially and culturally. The HMO properties previously identified as
HMO in the LLPG and have at least one student in residence (identified in HiMOG), are
concentrated in the studentified wards of Ashby, Storer, Nanpantan, and Southfields. It
is highly likely that this is due to individuals (most likely students) not recording their term
time address or registering an incomplete or inaccurate term time address, or perhaps
an individual not registering on the electoral roll. These properties have previously been
identified by CBC as a HMO based on information from planning or council tax datasets.

Table 6 shows findings from analyses of the percentages of wholly-student and non-
student HMOs by ward in Loughborough, including both licensed and non-licensed
HMOs. It can be seen that the percentage of student HMOs is highest in Southfields
(77%), Storer (68%), Ashby (64%) and Nanpantan (60%). The percentage of non-
student HMOs are most prevalent in the other wards of Loughborough.

Table 6 Total percentage of student and non-student HMOs (licensed and non-
licensed) by ward
                                                  Non-                            % Non-
                  Total           Student                         % student
Ward                                              student                         student
                  HMOs            HMOs                            HMO
                                                  HMOs                            HMO
Loughborough           56              16              40              29              71
Loughborough          117               7              110              6              94
Loughborough          171              36              135             21              79
Loughborough           92              55              37              60              40

Loughborough          52              19           33             37             63
Loughborough          73              7            66             10             90
Loughborough          573            439           134            77             23

                      487            332           155            68             32
                      184            118           66             64             36
Dishley &             48              1            47             2              98

Total               1,853            1,030         823            56             44

Finally, Table 7 shows the occupancy levels of Loughborough University students in
purpose-built student accommodation. It can be seen that occupancy levels have
generally increased between 2014/15 and 2016/17. In 2016/17 occupancy levels were
high in the majority of blocks of purpose-built student accommodation.

Table 7: Occupancy levels in purpose-built student accommodation: 2014/15 to
                                             LU Student     LU Student    %
                               Total bed     Occupancy      Occupancy     Occupancy
Property       Location        Spaces        (14/15)        (16/17)       16/17
Asha House     Woodgate        106           55             103           97.2
               42 Ashby
The Block      Square          70            51             36            51.4
Waterways      Derby Road      179           115            160           89.4
               575 Ashby
The Cube       Road            96            62             88            91.7
Print House    Woodgate        100           34             84            84.0
Foundry 1      Woodgate        112           86             100           89.3

Optima        Lane         88   53   63   71.6
              194 Ashby
Essex Lodge   Road         44   18   13   29.5
              192 Ashby
Westfields    Road         22   11   14   63.6

4. Exploring the processes underpinning the patterns of HMO
geographies in Charnwood

4.1 Semi-structured interviews with letting agents, local government officers and Council
Elected Members were conducted to: i) critically explore the nuances of the processes
underpinning the diverse geographies of HMO in Loughborough; ii) to add a depth of
understanding to the outputs of the database, outlined above; iii) provide a deeper
insight into patterns of student and non-student geographies of HMO. Overall, 22 semi-
structured interviews and 2 paired semi-structured interviews were conducted between
October 2016 and December 2017.

4.2 The group identified as the starting point for interview was the letting agents. If an
established non-student HMO market exists in Loughborough, the narratives of letting
agents managing the properties would provide an ideal starting point to explore it. 29
letting agents were identified for initial contact. Student letting agents were included as it
was possible that some may also be involved in the management of non-student HMO
as well. Each agent was visited between September to December 2016, to arrange an
interview with an employee that had knowledge of the town’s HMO market. Interviews
were conducted with 15 letting agents representing 10 companies.

4.3 The next group identified for interviews were Local Government Officials. Their
expertise with this housing type would provide valuable insights. Overall, 2 semi-
structured interviews and 1 paired semi-structured interview were arranged with Local
Government Officials. Councillors within CBC were also identified as a core group of
participants for interview due to their unique local knowledge of Loughborough. Overall,
1 paired semi-structured interview and 7 semi-structured interviews were conducted with
this group.

4.1 Key findings from the interviews
Some common findings from our interviews are listed below. Notably, we highlight eight
key findings which will be most salient to future discussions about future HMO policies,
and which reveal the ongoing dynamics and changing HMO markets in Loughborough
and Charnwood.

4.1.1 The HMO market within Loughborough is growing, diversifying and
spreading into other parts of the Borough

  There is a tendency for HMOs to cluster in areas with already-high concentrations of
    HMO and other private rented properties. However, there is a proliferation of HMO
    into local neighbourhoods typically dominated by family- oriented, owner-occupied
    households within Loughborough. HMOs are spreading to parts of the town not
    traditionally associated with shared living in HMOs.
  The town’s HMO market has previously been understood as one geared mainly, if
    not exclusively to its student population. To continue to conceptualise
    Loughborough’s HMO market solely as a student housing market is outdated, given
    the identification of diverse non-student HMO markets across the town and other
    towns and villages of the Borough (see below).

4.1.2 The student HMO market is changing

  There is a tendency for students to live close to their place of study and cultural
    amenities for convenience. There is an increasing movement of studentification into
    the Forest and Herrick areas, as well as the prevalence of students in Kingfisher
  In Storer and Burleigh, landlords are now renting out empty rooms in student HMOs
    to non-students, as is consistent with processes of de-studentification in these
  HMO landlords use ‘individuals’ that are not students as a ‘backup’ market if they
    cannot fill their properties with students. Crucially, the dynamic between the two
    markets is centred on the timing of the academic year; if student HMO landlords do
    not fill their properties with students by October, they will usually market their
    properties to non-student renters.
  Student HMO landlords now rent out rooms in their properties over the summer
    period to non-students in need of rooms on a short-term, ad hoc basis. This Airbnb-

style use of HMO provides innovative solutions to the ‘ghost-town effect’ in the
    university town.
  Young professionals and low-income individuals such as benefit recipients and
    individual Accession 8 (A8) European migrants may fill voids left by students in
    HMO in the town as part of the process of de-studentification.

4.1.3 The non-student HMO market in Loughborough and Charnwood is unfolding
and diverse

  A diverse non-student HMO market has been identified in Loughborough. Non-
    student HMO exhibits distinctly different geographies to the student market,
    although there is a degree of overlap, particularly in studentified parts of the town.
  The HMO market in Charnwood is changing due to many external influences. One
    key factor is a shift to HMO becoming an increasingly common housing type for
    diverse young adults. Traditionally, living in HMO has been associated with 18-25
    age group, particularly students. HMO is becoming more common for diverse
    individuals aged under-35.
  In parts of the town dominated by middle-class, family-oriented households living in
    owner-occupied housing, such as the Nanpantan, Garendon and Outwoods wards,
    further concentrations of non-student HMO are forming. The penetration of non-
    student HMO into these parts of the town represents a movement of HMO towards
    mainstream society spatially and culturally, as traditional neighbourhoods become
    accustomed to living in close proximity to individuals residing in non-familial shared
    living arrangements.

4.1.4 There is the presence of vulnerable low income groups within the non-
student HMO market

  Although Loughborough’s non-student HMO market is generally spread more evenly
    across the town than the student market, relatively high concentrations of non-
    student HMO have been identified in Loughborough East, particularly in the
    Hastings and Lemyngton wards. The existence of non-student HMO in this
    ethnically diverse part of the town, with high levels of socio-economic deprivation, is
    consistent with data from interviews stating that these HMOs are occupied mainly by
    low-income earners, benefit recipients and international migrant workers.

 The high concentration of non-student HMO in Shelthorpe, an area with a high
    proportion of former social housing, reflects tenurial shifts from social housing to
    HMO that can also explain the high concentration of HMOs in the Ashby ward.
  On the other end of the income spectrum, low-income workers were identified as
    living in HMO, particularly in Loughborough East. These tenants may be in some
    form of employment, but their income only allows them to live in a room within low-
    quality HMO in socio-economically deprived neighbourhoods of the town. For some
    low-income workers, HMO is the first alternative to homelessness owing to the
    competitive nature of Loughborough’s PRS. HMO serves an important role at the
    bottom end of the PRS by providing affordable accommodation for those with the
    lowest incomes in the town.
  Benefit recipients were also found to be living in HMO in deprived neighbourhoods
    mainly in Loughborough East, as well as the Golden Triangle. This may point to the
    extension of the SAR is funnelling benefit recipients in the town into HMO. It is
    argued that this residential pattern goes beyond de-studentified parts of the town
    and is more common in Loughborough East. Given that these benefit recipients are
    also at the lower end of the income scale, it is argued that HMO may serve a similar
    role for them as the ‘first rung’ on the rental ladder, and a primary alternative to the
    threat of homelessness.

4.1.5 There is the presence of vulnerable migrant groups within the non-student
HMO market

  HMO provides an important source of accommodation within Loughborough for
    international migrants. Brexit may have implications for England’s HMO market.
  International migrants also reside in HMO in various parts of Loughborough
    including the Golden Triangle and other parts of Storer, Dishley and predominantly
    Loughborough East. International migrant workers are geographically flexible within
    the town. However, the competitive nature of Loughborough’s PRS limits low-
    income migrant workers to the cheaper neighbourhoods within Loughborough East
    – particularly within the Hastings and Lemyngton wards.
  Two main groups of migrants were identified as living in HMO in the town. First,
    South Asian international migrants working in and around the town mainly in the
    catering industry were identified, from countries including Bangladesh, India and

 The second group of migrants living in HMO in Loughborough are A8 European
   migrants from countries including Poland, Romania, Lithuania and Bulgaria. Diverse
   jobs ranging from farming & agriculture, agency work in manufacturing industries,
   taxi driving, and more professional occupations were all mentioned by interviewees.
  International migrant workers from other ethnic backgrounds were also found to be
   living in HMO in the town, including migrants from the Middle East, e.g. Qatar, Saudi
   Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Vietnam and Algeria. Properties with
   migrants from these backgrounds were found in the Nanpantan ward.
  Identifying and exploring HMO containing migrants is difficult due to a lack of
   suitable data on both HMO and international migrants.

4.1.6 The non-student HMO market includes diverse groups of professionals

  Professionals are also living in HMO in Hastings and Lemyngton wards. The
   location of the town’s train station and several large employers in these wards is
   influential here.
  There are several different types of professional residing in HMO including graduate
   employees, but also flight attendants, Olympic athletes and military personnel in
   training. The diversity of professionals residing in HMO in the town emphasises the
   point that HMO in the town now caters for diverse individuals.

4.1.7 The HMO market is agile and dynamic

  The demand for short-term, flexible accommodation among non-students ebbs and
   flows with the changing economic structure of Loughborough. Examples include the
   opening of an Amazon distribution hub in Coalville, the expansion of employers
   such as 3M and the closure of a manufacturing plant of the Brush Group. LU
   emerged as one of the major employers in the town for professionals living in HMO,
   and as a magnet for other businesses to locate in the area. The continued growth of
   the university through the Science and Enterprise Park may reinforce and expand
   this influence on the town’s economy. The supply of HMO in the town facilitates a
   flexible and dynamic population of non-students who can meet the demand for
   mobile labour from employers in and around the town. As long as the labour market
   demands a flexible and mobile workforce, HMOs will continue to be in high demand
   in locations across England, including Loughborough.

4.1.8 The HMO market is embracing technological developments in its change

  The importance of web-based platforms such as SpareRoom, Gumtree and
   EasyRoommate for the operation of the town’s HMO market cannot be understated.
   Online platforms were mentioned by several interviewees as crucial for the
   operation of Loughborough’s non- student HMO market. These online platforms
   allow HMO landlords in the town to cheaply and flexibly advertise rooms. This helps
   to explain the lack of a niche letting agent specifically advertising and managing
   non-student HMOs in Loughborough.

Appendix A

Constituent datasets used in HiMOG database

      HMO mandatory licensing register (sourced from Charnwood Borough
       Council’s website in January 2016, and updated on HiMOG thereafter)
      Planning dataset (sourced from Charnwood Borough Council on
       18th October 2016)
      Loughborough University student-term address dataset (sourced from
       Loughborough University for 2014-15; updated for each academic year)
      Loughborough College student-term address dataset (sourced from
       Loughborough College for 2016-17 academic year and updated for each
       academic year)
      Electoral Register (sourced from Charnwood Borough Council on
       30th September 2015; updated 21 February 2018)
      Council Tax exemptions (sourced from Charnwood Borough Council on
       23rd September 2015; updated 5 February 2018)

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Charnwood Borough Council (2010). Article 4 Direction: Houses in Multiple Occupation

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Charnwood Borough Council (2011). Town and Country Planning (General Permitted

Development) Order 1995 as Amended. Retrieved from:



Charnwood Borough Council (2015). Charnwood Local Plan 2011 to 2028: Core

Strategy. Retrieved from: https://www.charnwood.gov.uk/pages/corestrategydpd

Charnwood Borough Council (2017a). Housing Supplementary Planning Document.

Retrieved from:


Charnwood Borough Council (2017b). Planning control of Houses in Multiple Occupation

(HMOs). Retrieved from https://www.charnwood.gov.uk/pages/hmo

Hubbard, P. (2008). Regulating the social impacts of studentification: a Loughborough

case study. Environment and Planning A, 40, 323–341.

Kinton, C. (2013). Processes of studentification and de-studentification in

Loughborough. PhD Thesis. Retrieved from https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-


Kinton, C., Smith, DP., Harrison, J. (2016). De-studentification: emptying of housing

and neighbourhoods of student populations. Environment and Planning A, 48, 1617–


Smith, D.P., Sage, J. and Balsdon, S. (2014) The geographies of studentification: ‘here,

there and everywhere’. Geography 99(3): 116-127.

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